Motherhood freed me.

Last month, I saw a post by Avery’s Garden asking for submissions of creative grief. The prompt was, “What does motherhood look like to you?”

For me, motherhood has been complicated and full of ups and downs.

In the beginning, I was stripped away from physically mothering Jensen. I will never be able to fully explain that pain and how it will always linger. I’ve tried hundreds of time, but there are no words.

As the months and years have went past, my motherhood has evolved.

I have Mila and we remember Jensen each day. With the two of them, I parent and honor them so different. I’ve changed the way I look at my motherhood too.

Here’s how I see my motherhood this year…

Through the grief and nakedness
of losing the biggest part of me,
planted a seed.

Out of that pain and emptiness
came all the growth and beauty.
Motherhood freed me.

I’m definitely not an artist, but I enjoyed painting and creating. When I look at this piece, I think of how far I’ve come and how much love I give every day.

Motherhood isn’t a pretty thing. It’s hard and is never perfect. Somehow through it all, it’s freed me.

I couldn’t imagine a life without them. Everyday I’m glad they chose me to be their mom.

Toddler Activity: DIY Mother’s Day Watercolor Cards

If you’re like me, you might be running a little behind getting Mother’s Day presents. One thing I always seem to forget is the card! This year, try these DIY watercolor cards!

These are a fun way to share your child’s creativity and a way for you to get involved too. Mila loved seeing our creations and I know they’ll be a hit. This could also be a great tradition to start with your children too. They could end up just making them for you as they get older.

All you need is:

This activity is pretty easy.

Go to an area or set up one that you’re okay with paint getting on. Then lay everything out. This specific water color paint was already mixed up. This made it easier for Mila so she didn’t have to dip her brushes in water first.

After, let them paint whatever they would like. There’s no right or wrong way for them to paint or create these.

Once they’re done with a specific card, have them sprinkle salt on the paint. Not only does this help it dry, it creates an amazing texture to the cards. Plus, it’s a little science experiment that your child will love!

They can continue with their painting and salt.

When the salt is dried, you and your child can rub it off. They’ll love seeing how it looks and Mila was in awe of how the salt was colored too.

The next part is up to you. If your child is older, you can instruct them to draw flowers or something that reminds them of the female figures in their lives. Mila wasn’t interested in this, so I personally drew flowers that flowed with her painting. It’s so much fun to take their creations and help make it even more special.

I ended up taping the paintings to cards. On the inside, I wrote a special note for each of Mila’s cards and had her sign it.

They turned out so cute and I really love them. Mila loved the outcome of her cards and was so proud of her painting. I think seeing it all come together helped complete her vision. As always, she will be so excited for her loved ones to receive them.

Honestly, I’m keeping one for myself so I can see how Mila’s art skills grow. Plus, I’m just as proud of her as she is of herself.

If you end up trying this activity, let me know in the comments. Make sure to tag me on Instagram if you share on there too.

What are your favorite types of Mother’s Day gifts?

Toddler DIY: Painted Flower Pots

Don’t scramble this Mother’s Day to come up with gift. Try these DIY painted flower pots to give to your loved ones.

Not only are they easy to make, it’s adorable watching your child pick out the plants for it.

Plants are great gifts to give because they keep growing! It’s extra special to get a personalized pot as well. The combo makes a beautiful present and you’ll toddler will be proud to gift it.

Here’s everything you’ll need:

Most of these items, you probably have at your house. If you don’t have any extra pots laying around, terracotta pots are inexpensive and can be found at most stores. Another option is to use plastic ones too.

To personalize the pots, I added stickers to it before we painted. This is completely up to you!

Then it was time to set up.

I laid a sheet of parchment paper down on my island. Just so there wasn’t paint everywhere like her Earth Day painting.

Next, I had her let me know what color paint she wanted to do. Another great way to practice her color recognition, which she has nailed! But, it’s always fun listening about her favorite color. I ended up putting all the colors on a plate.

After everything was set up, I instructed her to paint all over the pots.

It took her a little bit to get both of them done.

All of the colors got mixed together too. It made a beautiful green color, but it’s a good word of caution if you don’t want all the colors together.

We let the pots dry and took a nap. I should’ve tried to pull the stickers off before we fell asleep though!

When I removed them, the paint stuck. Of course.

To fix this, I ended up just using permanent markers to fix it. This happens with DIYs. Nothing will ever turn out perfect, but I just love them.

After everything’s dried and the way you’d like it, it’s time to pick the plant or flowers.

I have a ton of plants that need ‘real pots,’ not just nursery pots. Yes, yes. I’m most definitely a crazy plant lady at this point!

Honestly though, I think these turned out so cute. I love how mine turned into a rainbow, marble piece and my mom’s is a nice blue and green swirl. They’re both made with so much love.

You and your toddler can easily make these pots in an afternoon. They’ll make anyone smile to receive!

Let me know what you think about these pots in the comments. If you DIY them, tag me on Instagram: @greyskies.rainbowhighs. I can’t wait to see your and your toddler’s creativity.

Before you go, check out what these other moms are doing for Mother’s Day this year…

Toddler Activity: Earth Day Painting

To celebrate our Earth on its special day, Mila created a beautiful Earth Day Painting.

Is there a huge possibility that more paint ended up on her than the canvas? Of course! But she had a lot of fun talking about the Earth and describing what she was painting.

As for me, I loved watching her creativity and seeing how much she actually notices the world around her.

Reliving curiosity about everything is the best part of parenting for me. Mila has taught me how to love our Earth and everything around us so much more deeply. It makes huge, paint messes like these not feel a burden to clean up. She makes life fun and happy.

I absolutely loved that proverb when I was looking information up about Earth Day. Being a mom and wondering what Mila’s future will be like made me have a connection with it. This proverb is just so powerful.

Anyways, thinking about Earth Day and her creativity led us to doing a painting.

If you want to do what we did, here’s what you’ll need:

This activity is super simple. I promise we had every intention on making neat little earths.

To prep, just grab something circular shaped that you don’t mind getting paint on. Then pour green and blue paint beside each other.

All you have to do is instruct your child to dip the ball in the paint and put it on the canvas.

The ball is way easier to paint with than food!

At some point, Mila decided she didn’t want to paint with the ball anymore. She dipped her finger in the green paint and slid it across her forehead.

I have no idea why this popped in her head, but I just let her do her thing.

I would NOT suggest letting them finger or hand paint if you’re unprepared. Paint went all over Mila’s clothes and the picnic bench. She was covered too.

But it was okay and washed off. The memory of watching her paint was way worth it.

She described she was painting rainbows and grass. The earths on the top of the canvas were clouds and the sky. She had a whole story for her artwork. It was the cutest thing.

The best part was how proud she was of her painting. When my mom came to pick Mila up, she showed off her work.

I love that she’s able to learn, but always put her twist on things.

As always, if you end up doing this activity, let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram: @greyskies.rainbowhighs.

Check out some of these other Earth Day and natured inspired activities Mila and I have done. They’re a lot of fun!

Toddler Activity: Snipped Paper Shamrock Collage

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I thought it’d be fun to work on Mila’s scissor skills and do some more process art. This Shamrock Collage is a fun way to teach them about a ton of different things, while they’re having fun.

Mila is so interested in scissors. Whenever I use mine, she asks for her and tries to cut different things. Although she’s still into using both hands to cut, I challenge her to try and use one hand.

If you didn’t know, toddlers Mila’s age shouldn’t really be cutting paper. They should practice on play-doh or something similar, which Mila does. But, I like seeing how she’s progressed. When she practices on paper, I try to cut strips for her so she can do short cuts.

Anyways, let’s get back to this project. Here’s all the supplies you’ll need:

  • Scrap paper
  • Scissors
  • Market
  • White paper

I’m going to go on about scissor skills (sorry!). If you want to age this activity up, use the green paper as a template. This is too old for Mila’s age and for most toddler-aged kids.

Anyways, I found extra scrapbook paper in the playroom. We don’t use a ton of green for crafts, so I actually had a good bit of it. To make the shamrock, I followed this pin. I cut long strips for her to make small cuts too.

She practiced holding the scissors and the paper.

Eventually, I ended up holding the paper for her to help out. She got a little bit frustrated with it, but she cut a good amount.

I ended up getting out play-doh and those scissors so she could continue cutting. Then I cut some extra squares and triangles so she had enough to do the collage. We sort of sham-rock team work. Okay, that was a lame joke, but it was festive.

Next, I placed the cut pieces in a bowl and covered all the white area of the clover in glue. Then, I instructed her to make a collage.

Specifically, I told her to cover all the white with green pieces.

She had a blast picking out the best pieces to put on her shamrock. We found some Irish music to listen to and it all came together pretty quickly.

One thing I would suggest is have a wet washcloth with you.

I think Mila’s going through something about sticky things. Every time her hand accidentally touched the glue, she immediately needed it wiped off. That took some time to do, but we had so much fun.

When she was done placing the paper, she wanted to draw around the sides. I think she just loves using markers.

Honestly, I loved the way it turned out.

It’s so festive and I feel like it’s a project that I can do with her through the years. For now, it’s hanging up on my fridge, waiting for the leprechauns to see!

Let me know what you think about this activity and if you try it out, I’d love to see what you and your little came up with.

Toddler Activity: Rainbow Bubble Wrap Painting

In our house, rainbows hold a special meaning.

Mila is my rainbow baby and any time we can incorporate them in our home, we do. So, it felt pretty fitting to make our big canvas painting a rainbow this month.

We’ve done smaller rainbow crafts, but this big painting may be my new favorite.

All the supplies you’ll need are:

  • Paint (the colors of the rainbow)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Canvas

Since Mila was busy with the nice weather, I was able to prep this easily. When she did notice we were painting, she ran over.

We talked about all the different colors. She’s finally able to say ‘orange’ and let me know that her favorite color of all of them was purple.

All I did was put paint in rainbow arches in the correct order.

Then, I helped Mila put the bubble wrap over top of it. When it was there, she pushed on all the paint to spread it out.

It was fun watching her figure out how it all worked. She thought it was pretty cool to see how the paint mixed together and everything. The best part was pulling off the bubble wrap.

We all know my love for using random things to paint, this turned out so different than I expected. It’s textured, but not in bubble wrap’s usual way.

Mila was so proud of her latest artwork. It’s hanging up now, even though I may add a quote above the red arch.

No matter what, this artwork is easy to do with kids of all ages. It can be modified for babies by putting a more secure wrap on the canvas. For older kids, they can pour the paint on too.

I hope that you and your toddler love this activity! If you end up doing it, let me know in the comments.

Toddler Activity: Mardi Gras Beads Process Art

Happy Fat Tuesday!

If you’re looking for a quick activity to do with your child today, this one goes perfectly when listening to some jazz music.

You probably have most of the supplies at home too. Here’s all you need:

  • Paint (purple, gold, green)
  • Canvas
  • Beads

Since everyone knows we love process art here, using beads is a fun way to create.

I chose traditional Mardi Gras colors for Mila to use and we had some random beads already here. There were two different sized beads she used too!

All you have to do is instruct your child to dip the beads in the paint and drop them on the canvas.

It can get a little messy, so put paper underneath.

I had to help Mila get paint on the beads. It’s a little tricky, but older kids shouldn’t have a problem with it. It’s also nice to make sure to leave one part of the necklace clean so it’s easy to grab.

I absolutely love how this painting turned out. It would be cute to add an outlined fleur-de-lis too!

Mila loved being introduced to jazz music too. She dipped the necklaces along with the beat! Next year I’ll have to find a beignet recipe!

If you decide to do this activity with your child, let me know how it goes in the comments!

For more Mardi Gras activities check out these blog posts:

Toddler Activity: Celery HeARTwork

Process art is one of my and Mila’s favorite ways to be creative. This week we discovered that celery makes the cutest, little hearts.

Isn’t that just amazing or is it just for me since I’m the worst at drawing heart?

Anyways, this celery heARTwork activity is so easy to set up and your child can be as creative as they want. It was also great for us to mix in with snack time.

It takes playing with your food to a different level.

This is all you need for this activity:

  • Canvas or something to paint on (craft paper makes amazing wrapping paper!)
  • Paint
  • Celery
  • Something to put paint on (I used recycled milk jug lids.)

That’s seriously it! We obviously used different shades of pink and red. You can use whatever colors your child picks.

All they have to do is use their celery sticks like a paint brush. Dip the celery into the paint. Then press it down on the canvas.

At first, Mila wanted to move the celery like a brush. I showed her how to use it like a stamp to clear that confusion. She immediately recognized they were hearts.

Celery transfers the paint MUCH easier than potatoes. That means they don’t have to push down as hard.

Mila had so much fun playing with her food, while eating the same type.

When she would switch to snacking, I had a rule that all four celery paint sticks had to be in the upright position. That made me feel a little more comfortable when she kept switching back and forth!

No paint was consumed during this art project.

I love the way this process celery heARTwork turned out.

She just made the canvas and wrapping paper, but again, this can be used for anything you need hearts on!

The biggest thing to remember while kids do process art is there’s no end goal. This is their time to be as creative as they like.

I think the best part of process art is to see how your child grows with it. They get a better sense of composition, shapes, and colors the more they paint.

Their growth is truly the greatest gift.

As always, I hope if you do this activity, you let me know in the comments.

Toddler Activity: Super Bowl Artwork and Noise Makers

The Super Bowl is this weekend! If you’re a person who just watches for half time, here are two activities you can do with your kid’s before the game or during.

I incorporated two things Mila loves: art and music. For both of these activities, you probably have everything you need in your home.

When doing these, I would highly recommend a parent to help on a few steps.

Noise Makers Supplies:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Paint
  • Glue – Elmers and hot glue
  • Glitter
  • Ribbon
  • Rice

The first step is to paint both rolls.

I tried to stick with both teams colors, so Mila can shake when either team scores. She was able to help me paint them, but it was messy!

After the paints dried, you can add glitter to them. I did stripes around each side and Mila rolled the glitter on. To get it to stick, I did another coat of Elmers paint on top of the glitter. Then she wanted to add a sticker to both.

When the glue is dried, fold one side of the roll down. Then, put hot glue over top to seal it.

Add rice when the hot glue cools down and the fold and glue the other side too. I didn’t measure out the rice to a science. The rice probably filled half of it!

Then, we added ribbons on the end for extra decorations and to cover up the dried glue. It also double seals the ends so no rice flies out.

These are fun to shake and Mila loves dancing with them!

The next activity is so simple and we turned it into a little gift!

All you need is three things:

  • Brown paint
  • Canvas
  • Potato

To get the football effect with the potato, just carve the laces into it. I used a knife. That was one step definitely not suitable for young kids.

Then, all you have to do is dip the potato in the paint and use it like a stamp. I would suggest to really press down on it. If not, it doesn’t transfer the paint well.

I let Mila do her own design, but it’d be really cute to tape down a rectangle to make a frame. Then put your child’s picture inside of it.

We ended up taking pictures and made our own little frame with a clip. It turned out SO cute.

Other ideas for the potato/football stamp would be table cloths, banners, or place settings. Another idea could be to use the potato stamp for a fun way to keep score. There are so many possibilities.

We had so much fun making these and I can’t wait to see her play with the noise makers. My dad, her papa, is going to love this little gift as well.

I hope this gives you something to do if you get bored during football or are just really excited for the game.

As always, if you decide to try these out, let me know in the comments.

I got a custom painting done and here was my experience.

If you would walk into my house, you would be able to tell a few things:

  1. A toddler and a dog reside here.
  2. There’s a lot of plants.
  3. I love art.

My walls are covered with art, pictures, and things that make me happy. Art comes in so many different types of forms and it’s a great way to represent what’s going on inside my head… just on my walls.

I’ve always wanted to get something custom done for just me, but the opportunity never arose. Until a few weeks ago.

On Instagram, someone I followed shared this one-line artwork and I was obsessed. The artist’s name is Ami Pruett and I dove deep into her website. Her paintings and prints really struck me, but one stuck out. She has a mother, baby – rainbow edition that I thought was beautiful. I was just about to put it in my cart, until I saw she did custom paintings.

Instantly, I reached out and sort of told her my family’s story and how much I longed to have an image of me, Jensen, and Mila all represented the same. All our family pictures we have, Jensen is represented in his bear or a picture, which is amazing and I love doing.

But… thinking there was some way we could be interconnected and together really spoke to me.

Ami got back to me a couple days later and we went for it.

She seriously was amazing to communicate and work with. Obviously, I feel comfortable sharing Jensen and our family’s story with others, but Ami was so genuine in just her website and Instagram, that I felt SO comfortable trusting her with something that meant so much to me.

The process was pretty simple.

Again, I told her my idea of what I wanted the art to portray and we bounced ideas off of each other. She came up with two designs to show me and we both agreed on the one.

Honestly, seeing both of the designs was intriguing. I think just having something custom for me on paper felt surreal.

Anyways, after I picked the design, it went quick.

I could’ve customized it with different paint, but I stuck to black. She gave me different options. So, it was nice to know that people have choices in what works best with their own individual decor style and personality.

While I knew she was working on it, I stalked her Instagram for updates. I felt like a kid on Christmas when I saw her working on it.

After approving the pencil work, she painted. Seeing it completely done for the first time made me cry. It’s absolutely beautiful and perfect; even better than what I had envisioned in my head.

This isn’t the painting’s forever home, I want to get the perfect frame for it. It deserves the best.

I would 100% recommend Ami to anyone who loves her style. She just dropped new prints for Valentine’s Day, which showcase love perfectly. I definitely scooped one of them up.

Ami, if you’re reading, thank you SO much again. You have no idea how much this painting fills my heart. It helps bring my family together in a way we can never be. I’ll have no way to truly thank you for that feeling.

Have you ever gotten a custom painting done before?